State highway agency to stay in Mt. Vernon

December 07, 1991|By Edward Gunts

One year after it explored plans to move its headquarters to Camden Yards, the State Highway Administration has decided to remain in Mount Vernon.

The state earlier this year renewed its lease for the six-story building at 707 N. Calvert St. through the end of 1997. It also has options to renew its leases for space in two nearby buildings, 211 E. Madison St. and the Mount Vernon Market Center at 808 Guilford Ave., according to representatives for those buildings.

The decision means the state agency and its more than 1,000 employees will be a continued presence in Mount Vernon for years to come, and it will not be vacating its more than 200,000 square feet of office space in the area. It also means the agency will no longer pursue plans to build an $18 million office addition to the old B&O warehouse in Camden Yards, near the new baseball stadium.

State officials are considering buying the building at 707 N. Calvert St. from the current owners, 707 Associates of Baltimore.

The state filed suit in Baltimore City Circuit Court last month asking that the owners be ordered to provide a new appraisal of the building so state officials can determine whether to buy it or continue renting.

According to Assistant Attorney General John Thornton, the owners provided an appraisal that said the building was worth $14.8 million with the current lease in effect and $16.9 million if there were no tenant. But state officials believe those figures are unreasonably high, he said, and want the landlord to obtain new ones.

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